Here is a translation of the text of the Video-Message that the Holy Father Francis sent to the participants in the meeting being held today in the Casina Pius IV, on the occasion of the launching of the Mission 4.7 and of the Global Compact on Education, on the theme “Education Is An Act of Hope.”
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The Holy Father’s Video-Message
Education is an act of hope
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Education is always an act of hope that, from the present, looks at the future. Static education doesn’t exist. Today’s meeting in the Casina Pius IV is an act of hope and of generational solidarity, of hope and of inter-generational solidarity. Young leaders and global educators from all parts of the world are meeting to promote a new type of education, which will make it possible to overcome the current globalization of indifference and the throwaway culture — two great evils of our culture, indifference, and rejection. This has been an extraordinary year of suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, a year of obligatory isolation and exclusion, of spiritual anguish and crisis and of not a few deaths, and of an unprecedented educational crisis. Over a billion children have faced interruptions in their education. Hundreds of millions of children have remained behind in opportunities of social and cognitive development. And, in many places, the biological, psychic, and economic crisis has greatly worsened coupled with the political and social crises.
You have gathered today in an act of hope; an act of hope so that the impulses of hatred, divisions, and ignorance can and are overcome through a new good wave, let’s call it so, a new good wave of educational opportunities based on social justice and mutual love; a new Global Pact for Education launched already in October with some of you present. First of all, I thank you for gathering today to make our shared hopes and plans grow in a new education that foments the transcendence of the human person, integral and sustainable human development, inter-cultural and religious dialogue, the safeguarding of the planet, the meetings for peace and openness to God.
The United Nations offers a unique opportunity for the world’s governments and civil society to unite both in hope as well as in action for a new education. I quote gladly Saint Paul VI’s message of gratitude to the United Nations, which states: “Gentlemen, you have done and are doing a great work: to teach men peace. The United Nations is the great school where this education is received.” UNESCO’s Constitution, adopted in 1945 at the end of the tragedy of World War II, acknowledged that as “wars are born in men’s minds, it’s in men’s minds where the bulwarks of peace must be erected.” Seventy-five years ago UNESCO’s Founders asked “to ensure to all full and equal access to education, the possibility to research freely the objective truth and the free exchange of ideas and knowledge . . . so that peoples will understand one another better and acquire more precise and true knowledge of their lives” (Preamble). In our time, in which the Global Educational Pact has been broken, I see with satisfaction that governments have committed themselves again to put these ideas into practice through the adoption of the U.N. 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Objectives, in synergy with the Global Pact on Education.
At the heart of the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDO) is the recognition that quality education for all is a necessary basis to protect our common home and foment human fraternity. Just like the Global Pact for Education, so also essentially the SDO 4 commits all governments to “guarantee an inclusive, equitable and quality education, as well as to promote opportunities of learning during the whole of life, and this for all.”
The Global Educational Pact and Mission 4.7 will work together for the Civilization of Love, Beauty, and Unity. Allow me to say that I hope you will be poets of a new human beauty, a new fraternal and friendly beauty, such as the safeguarding of the earth we walk on. Don’t forget the elderly and grandparents, bearers of the most decisive human values. Thank you for what you do and, please, don’t forget to pray for me.
Thank you.[Original text: Spanish] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]